The second Hakka cooking party

A couple of years ago, my high school friend Karen suggested we organize a cooking party around The Hakka Cookbook. We had such a good time she wanted to repeat it again. I suggested we try different recipes this time.

I planned a menu with six recipes trying to choose ones that would not suffer when cooked in a larger quantity. I suggested each cook claim one recipe and bring it to the party ready-to-eat or completely prepped and ready to cook. In this organized potluck, the work and expenses are shared which makes it much less stressful for the host.

We numbered thirteen. The men opted out of the cooking and were happy to drink beer and socialize outside. The six women, longtime childhood friends, gathered in the kitchen to catch up, laugh, and get the meal on the table. Since we served two dishes at a time, usually only two people were at the stove, while others watched and learned.

Our crew cooked and ate the meal at a leisurely pace in three courses, serving two dishes at a time, buffet style. We spent the whole afternoon cooking, talking, and eating. It’s an easy party plan to duplicate for your own Hakka cooking party. This party also pushes you to explore the cookbook more deeply. Enjoy—cook, learn, and eat!

First courses:

Ruby and Chicken MorselsSoy Glazed Chicken Morsels (p. 199). Ruby doubled the recipe, cooking it in two batches at home, shortly before the party. She served the chicken at room temperature over a bed of lettuce. The chicken can also be served hot.

Mustard Green and Pork Soup (p. 26) Nancy brought a double batch of the broth with the pork. Shortly before serving, she reheated the broth and added the cut-up mustard greens.

Second courses:Phyllis and Shrimp

Poached Shrimp and Ginger Broth (p. 103) Phyllis brought a double portion of shrimp and seasonings. Once the water boiled, it only took minutes to cook the shrimp.

Barbara with Squash and Peas





Ginger Scented Squash and Peas (p. 52) Barbara pan-steamed a double portion of this colorful vegetable medley in my 14-inch wok. She used shallots instead of lily bulbs.

Third courses:Melanee and Spinach

Steamed Black Bean Pork (p. 165) The day before I cooked a double batch of this recipe and chilled it overnight. The next day, I reheated the two bowls in my stacked steamer.

Spinach and Peanuts (p. 56) Mel stir-fried two double batches of spinach just before serving.

Hot Rice

Potluck Desserts

Wine, Beer, Hot Tea, and  Sparkling Wine and Water





The Hakka Cookbook is here

The Hakka Cookbook arrived from China last week.  Whew!  I was beginning to worry that the ship might arrive late, and I would have no books for my scheduled events. Books should be making their way into the stores. Heard that Powell’s in Portland had a noticeable display.

I have been busy. My first radio interview comes in a few days with On the Menu, a food and travel show broadcast globally.  Planning the debut presentation of my book at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco on September 29. Heard that there could be as many as 150 people. A bit scarey. Need to polish my public speaking skills.

I was invited to a dinner sponsored by Tsung Tsin Association in Honolulu and decided to go. Will meet some of the Hakka folks featured in my book. Planning local book signing parties. Scheduling events for a November book tour to the Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver, BC.  For details on my upcoming events, check Events Calendar. Hope to meet you at one soon.

In the news

The Hakka Cookbook makes the news. First article about my upcoming cookbook came out yesterday.  Jennifer Bain of the Toronto Star wrote an excellent story about a dinner with some of my Hakka friends and recipe contributors at the Royal Chinese Seafood Restaurant. The chef prepared mostly Chinese-Hakka dishes (some are not on the menu and need to be special ordered). We also sampled a few of his spicy Indian-Hakka recipes.

A photographer also spent a few hours with us taking photos. Just one picture made it into the story, so I thought I would share another one that I took with my iPod camera. Chef Kuo Shan Liu prepared Hakka Garlic Chicken which is steamed salted chicken with his special garlic sauce. We also ate Fish Meatball Soup with Radish, Hakka Braised Pork, Steamed Pork with Taro, Fish with Preserved Lemon, Beef and Preserved Vegetables in Rice Wine Sauce, Crispy Shrimp Balls, and Fried Stuffed Tofu, Hakka-Style. Dishes with a more Indian flavor included Tandoori Masala Chicken and Chili Chicken.